It is peach season in Texas. Last year there were no peaches due to a draught. This year, when I saw the first display of peaches, I decided to plan an excursion to drive a short two hours in hopes to explore and discover the orchards that produce them and the markets that sell everything peach. I invited my 15 year old daughter along and by the time we piled into my car early one Saturday morning, our party had grown from the two of us to the five of us.
Joined by our friends, the car was filled with females representing two generations of women: 50 something’s and teens. It dawned on me that regardless of our different ages and stages in life, a simple search and find adventure brought all of us together for one common goal. As we travelled, the car provided a space where our different desires and opinions surfaced through the variety of music, language and topics of conversation. Our differences were not the focus, but rather they added comradery as we headed toward our goal.
Upon our arrival, we made a decision to take a detour to explore the town’s Trade Days Market. The girls went one way and my friend and I went another, each of us choosing booths of various likes and interests. The rows and rows of different offerings from each vendor provided a smorgasbord of choices. There were antiques revived to the ‘new vintage’ look, tastes of jerky’s, jams, fudges, salsas and mixes; handmade quilts, clothing creations, wood carvings and other things too many to mention. After finishing, we loaded our goods and our bodies into the car to head to our next destination.
Lunch in town, then off to the peach jubilee. We passed orchards thick with trees already picked clean of their luscious fruit. As we got closer to our destination, I felt my anticipation rise as I imagined the jubilee filled with everything peach. However, when we arrived, I was disappointed to find we had missed it. Somewhat deflated, I began my apologies admittedly waiting for the wake of the disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised when, instead of faces and words acknowledging my failure, I was greeted with smiles and ideas for something different. Disappointment did not ruin the remainder of our day.
On our way back to the car, we discovered a counter where thankfully, peach ice cream was still available. We purchased three bowls of thick cream filled with large chunks of peaches as we set out with a new plan. The sweetness of grace. All was not lost!
We drove to a family owned orchard with a road side peach stand and market where we discovered baskets and baskets of peaches…
We met the orchard workers and witnessed the process of harvesting the peaches. The peaches were put though a ‘water bath’ to remove the fuzz off the skin. They were then individually checked by hand. If bruised or hail damaged, the peach was removed and placed into a barrel to be recycled. Once they passed through the examination, the peaches went into a funnel system that graded them “A” “B” or “C” based on their different sizes. After grading they were deposited into baskets priced according to their grades, “A”s chosen as the ones worthy to be displayed.
We learned that the orchard had provided jobs for hundreds of youth in the area. It was THE place to work. Some employees shared that their families had worked the orchard for generations because of the love and care provided by the owner’s. It was apparent they loved their employers, their work and the peaches.
Intrigued, I stood watching until I noticed I was standing alone. My party had vanished, succumbing to the sweet aroma wafting from the attached marketplace. Moving to join them, I opened the door and was greeted by a wall of the thick sweet aroma of peach. My mouth watered. I was amazed at the number of people standing in line at the counter, my party near the front waiting for more peach ice cream.
Before heading home, we all enjoyed the succulent fruit that had been baked into pies and breads and blended into salsas, ice cream and smoothies. We made some memories that day, but more importantly, we seized the day, enjoyed relationships of grace free from comparison and ‘grades’ of our sizes, ages and differences, mistakes and bruises. We were five females blended together for a ‘go with the flow’ day.
Using the homegrown peaches, I took several recipes and ingredients for Peach Salsa and blended them together to create my own. As I was making it, Tori, our daughter, our daughter came and joined me adding her own ‘ingredients’ of Cinnamon Tortilla Chips.
Ellen’s Spicy & Sweet Peach Salsa
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ pound ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (remove seeds for less heat)
Combine all ingredients and let stand one hour.
Tori’s Tortilla Chips
6 flour tortillas
2 T melted butter
Lightly brush tortillas with melted butter
Cut into wedges and place on ungreased cookie sheet
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
Bake @ 350° for 5-10 minutes until crispy.
(This recipe pairs well with grilled chicken or fish)
Tips: To easily peel peaches, boil in water 2-3 minutes with skin on.
Place in cold water and peels will slide right off with a little help from
Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 24 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.